|Sun Oct 7 2012 15:43:11|
Twitter Tells Marketplace Sellers, No Tweets for You
By: Ina Steiner
Bonanza sellers are twittering (not tweeting) after social networking site Twitter suspended their individual accounts en masse. One seller told EcommerceBytes he estimated Twitter suspended 500 users on October 4th and said hundreds more were suspended over the next several days. "Included were Twitter users who had not tweeted about Bonanza in several months as well as those who tweet daily," he said.
Another reader told me, "The canned response we all received when we filed appeals was that the suspensions were "because it appears you may be managing a number of Twitter accounts. Creating serial or bulk accounts with overlapping uses is a violation of the Twitter Rules; as a result, all of the accounts created have been suspended pending more information being provided.""
The seller said the bulk of those effected did not have multiple twitter accounts, and, "the few who do, use their multiple accounts in different ways. It would appear that the suspensions were really the result of their bots identifying any tweet with "at Bonanza", "@Bonanza", or "#Bonanza" as spam, thus earning an immediate suspension."
As she pointed out, Bonanza members are eclipsed by Etsy and eBay users who also promote their businesses on Twitter. But could the mass-suspension of Bonanza users be the beginning of a wider trend, she asked? "This targeting of small business owners has got to stop," she said.
What Does Twitter Say?
Here's the letter Twitter sent to suspended accounts:
We understand that you're contesting an account suspension. Please be sure to read this entire email.
Twitter suspends accounts for a variety of reasons. Your account was suspended because it appears you may be managing a number of Twitter accounts. Creating serial or bulk accounts with overlapping uses is a violation of the Twitter Rules; as a result, all of the accounts created have been suspended pending more information being provided.
Please respond with the following information in only one ticket:
a) a list of the accounts that you have created and which of these you would like to have reinstated, and
b) your planned use for the accounts.
The Twitter Rules can be found here: http://support.twitter.com/articles/18311
I've sent a question to Twitter, but the PR staff may not be working on the weekend (and it's a holiday weekend, to boot). Tweeting this blog post might get someone's attention there!
Bonanza's Mark Dorsey got right back to me and said the company has had the same messaging from Twitter as its members. "It was really strange that all of a sudden many Bonanza sellers had their Twitter accounts suspended. We learned of this on Friday and immediately reached out to Twitter."
Twitter sent Bonanza the same message its sellers received. "We replied on Friday to their auto reply," Dorsey said, "but have yet to hear back from them. I have also just checked our Twitter account, @Bonanzamarket and it is still suspended. From what I understand, Bonanza has been trending on Twitter several times, most recently on October 1st, so it is a bit puzzling as to why this happened."
Dorsey said he hopes to hear back from Twitter soon and that all Bonanza sellers will have their accounts reinstated soon.
Suspended Twitter Users Turn to Pinterest
Writing on the Bonanza discussion boards, a seller wrote, "Just thinking about all the hours and the work involved, all the followers I've gained. The thought of starting all over again just blows my mind...it feels like total burnout."
When another seller asked others on the board if they were having Twitter withdrawal, one wrote, " Nope, in fact, it’s quite relaxing tonight. Something to think about," and another wrote, "Not really Shar, I just go to Pinterest now, lol."
Twitter rules are found here - but as Brian Cohen pointed out in his post on the AuctionBytes Blog last night, eBay and Amazon have many Twitter accounts, not to mention all their sellers. Let us know what you think, and keep me posted, as I will be follow-up on this story.